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Disney to Enter into Multibillion-Dollar Partnership with Ambani’s Reliance

October 24, 2023
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Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries is all set to finalise a multi-billion dollar deal with Walt Disney Co. to buy its India operations, reported Bloomberg citing sources on Monday.

After the deal, Reliance is expected to hold a controlling stake in the Disney Star business, which has an estimated valuation of $10 billion. The American entertainment giant will hold minority stake in the business.

“Disney values the business at around $10 billion, as opposed to piecemeal transactions weighed earlier, the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private. Reliance views the assets at around $7 billion to $8 billion,” Bloomberg reported quoting the people.

The giant acquisition is expected to be declared by the companies next month. There is also a possibility of merger of a few Reliance’s media units with Disney Star as per the deal, reported BB referring to sources.

Till now, there has been no consensus on the deal or the valuation. Under the proposal, Disney is likely to continue hold on to a minority stake in the Indian company after the completion of cash and stock swap transaction. According to the news report, Disney could chose to hold onto assets for a bit longer.

A Disney representative in India didn’t respond to a request for comment and a spokesperson for Reliance declined to comment.

Ambani’s growing empire in entertainment industry

Ambani bagged the deal to stream the Indian Premier League for $2.7 billion in 2022. Acquisition of stakes in Disney India throws light upon Ambani’s growing influence in India’s entertainment industry. After locking the IPL deal, Reliance’s Jio Cinema platform chose to broadcast the hugely popular domestic cricket tournament for free this year.

Earlier this year, Reliance also bagged another multi-year pact to broadcast Warner Bros Discovery Inc.’s HBO shows in India, content that was previously with Disney.

Despite suffering losses in India’s entertainment industry, Disney Star continued to make investments in the market. It has been weighing other options for the business, including an outright sale or setting up a joint venture, Bloomberg News reported in July.

Disney continued to make significant gains in India. The recent men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and New Zealand garnered a record 43 million viewers which was way more higher than the 35 million viewership of the highly anticipated India-Pakistan grudge match held this month.

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